A Kindergarten smiles as they hold their parent's hand on the first day of school

Going back to school (or starting school for the first time), can be very exciting for your child. But it can also cause some nerves and worries about the unknowns on their horizon.

In order for children to put their best foot forward to learn, they need to feel confident, comfortable and that their wellbeing is being nurtured.

Parents play a key role in helping children feel supported and set to have a positive school year.

Here are seven ways you can support your child’s wellbeing as they start the school year strong:

Get into a routine

Start the transition to the school year schedule in August. That routine includes a regular bedtime and wake-up time, a weaning off of screen time, and having meal and snack times that align with their Monday to Friday school schedule.

Talk about feelings

Normalize nerves by letting your child know it’s not unusual to feel this way – you were once in their shoes! Model the way by talking about your own experiences (as an adult, too) and how you deal with moments of nervousness. 

Reflect and roleplay

Ask your child to practice telling you about their summer highlights and articulating their interests. These topics will be conversation starters (and maybe even class assignments) at the start of the year, and roleplaying helps children gain confidence sharing about themselves.

Focus on friendships

Friends play an important role in your child’s wellbeing. Children can change over summer, so encourage them to be open to new friendships and tell them how to build the foundations. A great place to start is talking about how to be a welcoming, caring friend for new students to their school.

Ask open-ended questions.

After school, ask your child questions that help them reflect on and talk about their day:

  • What was something that made you laugh today? 
  • What was your highlight and lowlight?
  • What was something you learned?
  • What did you do at recess?
  • What’s something you’re looking forward to tomorrow?

Remember that while many of us spend our days alone or with limited contact, our children spend the day constantly stimulated and social. While we are excited to see them and want to hear all about their day, your child may need time to unwind after school, so talk when they are ready.

Schedule play dates

The transition to school in September can be hardest on children who haven't spent a lot of time with others their age in a while. Reach out to other parents in your child's grade to schedule some play dates in the days before school starts. All SMUS parents can register to join SMUS Connect, where you can find and communicate with other parents in your child's graduation year.

Seek resources

The adults at your child’s school are there to support them and help them through their experience. At SMUS, that includes our Junior School counsellor, the classroom and associate teachers, as well as our caring admin staff. Let your child know that they can approach and speak to any adult at the school if they have a question or need any help at all.

We hope you and your family have a positive return to school.